Like many things in life, there’s a great difference in what you can pay for a similar item. A quick search for penlights on Amazon gives a range from around $1.50 each with shipping to around $20. The Coast HP3, also available from Amazon, is $32.47 as of this writing.
Based on price alone, you might be a little skeptical of this light, but the reviews on Amazon give it a full 5 stars, with a few people giving it “only” a 4. I generally don’t write about work on this blog, but using a flashlight isn’t exactly a trade secret, and after a very grueling preventive maintenance operation as an engineer, I can say that I had, by far, the best light.
Other small/pen lights didn’t compare in brightness while snaking around the machine to tighten obscure bolts, and the fact that the beam could be focused to a point or to a wide angle was really helpful. At a wide angle, the light could be put down and set to shine on a piece of equipment, freeing up my hands for other tasks. If there’s one drawback to this light, besides the relatively high price, it’s that it might somehow end up in someone else’s toolbox! Maybe you could engrave the metal surface using CNC router techniques found here.
Besides the 80 Lumen Coast HP3 (Amazon), Coast also makes the extremely similar HP4, rated at a stellar 95 lumens! I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s slightly cheaper at around $28 (off of Amazon), and is a little brighter. The drawback to this is that the beam doesn’t focus, but it also got a stellar 5 star rating.
As for other tools that are quite expensive, but really well-built, check out my review of the Wiha 75990 screwdriver set. I really like mine, but as with many things you get what you pay for!
Full disclosure: I get a small advertising fee if you buy one of these from the AZN after clicking a link. I was, however, seriously impressed with this light and thought that my readers would be interested in hearing about it. If I’m going to link to a product anyway, I might as well get paid for it!